Well, We Never…

This week Dylan and Dee Dee have suffered more injustices. They were banished to the master stateroom while the new carpeting was being laid in the salon. OK, so maybe there are worse things than lying around on a soft bed, sniffing smells through the …

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

The three-mile-long Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge crosses the Cooper River between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. The bridge has a pedestrian and cycle lane with fabulous views to the city, the river and out to sea. We got the bikes down and spent a great day riding through Charleston and across the bridge, and explored a…

FPB in the Press: Soundings Feature Now Live Online

There is a double feature now live in print and online at Soundings Magazine… The first article is written by …Read More

Thoughtful Thursday

I missed wordless Wednesday…so here’s thougthtful Thursday. Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook – stop by and say hi or follow us on Google+.

Charleston Arrival

As we neared Charleston City Marina from sea, we’d started to wonder if we were heading in the right direction. The marina was supposed to be walking distance from downtown, but where were the tall buildlings? The city, it turns out, looks different from other downtowns due to zoning restrictions that limit building heights. We’d…

Birds of a feather….

Nate and Primo had a special visitor this week while at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart. Margo, an Umbrella Cockatoo, along whit her human friend, Michael, came over for a short visit. Margo has been in contact with us for several years as she wanted to learn about life aboard a boat in preparation for […]

FPB 70 Construction Update: A “Stan”dard Sense of Scale

This just in from Circa Marine in Whangarei–Stan Creighton, who with wife Valerie has laid claim to FPB 70-1, is …Read More

Bahamas Day Dreams

“Paradise is always where love dwells.” ―Jean Paul

It seems like all the cruisers are either in the Bahamas or on their way this month…making me long for the crystal clear water, beautiful deserted beaches and the slow tranquil life of the islands. As wonderful as it would be in the Bahamas we’ve been enjoying our time at home. 
Treasure Cay – Abaco
The best part of taking a break from cruising is the time we get to spend with family…especially our little grand children. We’re enjoying playtime, walks, exploring, hugs, kisses, story time and sleep overs with our little wonders. It’s an incredible way to spend the winter…and the temperature here in south Texas aren’t bad either. It’s been a moderate winter and with most days in the 60s and 70s…just the way I like it.
It’s not the Bahamas, but our beach isn’t bad.
When we start missing time on the water and our minds start wandering to the islands…we take Texas Pearl out for a short cruise or we go for a walk on the beach that is just outside our front door. The Bahamas do look wonderful and I’m enjoying everyone’s photos, but life at home is good and we’re soaking in all the family time we can.

We’ll be returning to The Pearl the beginning of April to do projects on the boat and get it ready for our seventh season of cruising…so stay turned for details!

The morning view from my port hole on Texas Pearl
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook – stop by and say hi or follow us on Google+.


Envoy is in Lefkas Marina for the northern hemisphere winter and we are home for the New Zealand summer, heading back in April.
Upcoming Posts – Stabilisers Part 3, Cruising in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf aboard 48ft motor yacht Moritz, Using the title Captain, Envoy’s 2017 cruising plans.

Our last Posting introduced the subject of stabilisers, now we’ll talk more about passive stabilisers.

A passive stabilisation system consist of two poles each about seven metres long mounted near amidships on the vessel’s beam, which are stored vertically and when in use lowered to be deployed out from the vessel’s side using a downhaul, topping lift and fore and aft guy-wires to keep them in position. They are mostly made from aluminium or steel though less commonly using laminated timber.

A large metal plate weighing about 25kg and shaped like a delta-winged aircraft, known as a “paravane”, “bird” (the term we use) or “fish” suspends from the end of the pole using a combination of chain and nylon line, the latter providing some spring to reduce shock loads. The front of the bird is weighted to make it “fly” through the water in a nose-down position approximately five metres below the surface and the top of the bird has several chain attachment points to adjust the bird’s angle through the water. The further aft you attach the chain the more the bird tends to dive deeper and the more aggressive becomes the bird’s stabilising action at the expense of increased drag.

This image shows the port pole and bird deployed with the downhaul, topping lift and fore and aft guy-wires

Due to the birds’ weight and large awkward shape some form of winch is used to deploy and retrieve them (we use a light block and tackle) and with familiarity this process takes about 15 minutes.
When not in use we store the birds well out of the way on the boat deck, but if intending to use them we move them down to the cockpit so they’re ready for immediate use.

Centre-right is a bird stored on Envoy’s upper deck

The poles provide a distinctive fishing-boat-like appearance that won’t suit everybody but certainly creates interest among other cruisers.

Stabiliser poles provide a distinctive appearance – love it or hate it! Port deployed, starboard raised

On some boats the poles are stored in a near horizontal position along the superstructure and this probably makes for a tidier appearance.

This system’s big advantages are effectiveness – reducing roll by about 70 per cent, low initial and ongoing cost and reliability since there are no mechanical or moving parts – in the ten years we’ve owned Envoy no part of the system has needed replacement or maintenance. Just now we’re having the birds epoxy-painted over the galavanising which is rusting slightly.

It’s disadvantages are that it slows your boat down by about 10 per cent, there is some risk of the birds fouling flotsam or lines in the water (although ours never have) and the system cannot be rigged and de-rigged in shallow water or confined spaces.

Another huge benefit of this system is that by suspending a different type of metal plate the system provides highly effective stabilisation at anchor. Envoy’s plates, known as “flopper-stoppers”, each consist of two flat plates of stainless steel plate joined together along one side with a hinge. When the boat rolls downward the hinge allows the plates to close together and drop rapidly and when the boat rolls upwards the hinge allows the plates to open and resist upward pressure. This system is extremely effective enabling us to anchor in places where roll or wakes would normally make it too uncomfortable. Flopper stoppers are comparatively light and easily deployed and retrieved by hand.
They can be used in depths over four metres.

Laurie holds a flopper-stopper

Here the port flopper-stopper has been deployed alongside a jetty to reduce the effects of a side-swell during a gale in Cephalonia

Next posting will look at ACTIVE stabilisers and our view on what is the “best” option.

A Little Chaos

No, we are not referring to Miss Dee Dee…The kids have been living with much activity on Red Head for many months now. They’ve handled it well, even when they were forced to walk the scary plank. But most of the disruptions have been happening below …